The leper comes to Jesus having heard of his ministry, of his having healed various people apparently without reserve. Based on what he has heard or perhaps seen, the leper approaches Jesus and kneels in front of him. His words are “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”
Jesus’ response is a simple and straight forward: He stretched out his hand and said “I will; be clean.”
The force in these two verses is greater than “if you want to you can make me clean.” In this version, it seems as though maybe this is just a whim of Jesus’ taken on the spur of the moment. Much like you or I might pull into Dairy Queen having noticed it on our way somewhere else. Or perhaps in response to a question something like, “would you like ketchup on your hamburger?”
This is no spur of the moment question or response. The force of this word here is closer to “this is what I have come to do; I will it.” Jesus willed this leper’s healing because this is what he had come to do. If we can take a peek at Luke chapter 4, Jesus says that he is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of the breaking in of God into the world. In that chapter we read that Jesus has come to
“proclaim good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to the captives,
recovery of sight to the blind,
give liberty to the oppressed,
proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
It is the will of God, and it is the purpose of Jesus to heal the leper. This isn’t some “well, OK, I don’t have anything more pressing to do” response from Jesus. This is the very reason Jesus is walking the earth – to heal lepers.
Now the question is for you. How do you approach healing others – in whatever form that takes? Is it something you wait for the preacher to urge you to do? Is it more of an inconvenience when someone asks you for money? Do you wait for someone to ask you?
Or do you enter the day willing to heal, to relieve, to set free? Do you see this as the natural consequence of your baptism, your faith, your transformation? Do you look for opportunities to join with God in healing?